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The Phillies, once a paragon of an entire organization pulling the proverbial rope in the same direction, are now becoming somewhat dysfunctional based on recent reports out of the media. Veterans Shane Victorino, Jimmy Rollins and Cole Hamels have all publicly stated that the Phillies played too many games with Domonic Brown in recent years. Additionally, Phillippe Aumont said that he is being told to do two different things by coaches at the Major League level and at the Minor League level.
Let’s start with the Brown issue.
Victorino, via Ryan Lawrence:
“When he got called up early, he was doing well, and then I came back and he ended up sitting on the bench,” Victorino, now with the Red Sox, said of Brown, who hit .237 but also had a home run, two doubles and 11 RBI in 11 games while Victorino was on the DL. “For a young player like that’s it’s not easy sitting on the bench. I don’t care how talented you are, you have to play, especially as a young player, you need to play every day.”
“It’s motivation, certainly,” Jimmy Rollins said of Brown’s regular demotions in the last 2 years. “At the same time, when the organization isn’t showing you any confidence, it doesn’t matter if you motivate yourself. You go down there after being sent down the first time, you [hit]. After they send you down the second time, you go down and [hit]. What the heck do I keep getting sent down for? I come down here, hit .300. I go up there, play once a week and they say I can’t play. It’s hard to be motivated when you can only do so much.”
When asked whether Brown is playing with a clearer head, given the regular playing time, Rollins continued with his pointed criticism of the Phillies’ management.
“When you don’t have to battle the organization, I think you become that way,” Rollins said of playing relaxed. “He was never playing against anyone. It was just the organization thinking he’s ready or not. Every organization has players like that, that they like, but, their fear is he’s not ready. I’m the complete opposite. There’s only one way to find out. Your opinion doesn’t matter to me. Let me go out there, see if I can do it or if I can’t. The numbers will show if you give me a fair shot.”
Hamels, via 94 WIP:
“I just think it takes somebody to kind of get, just comfortable,” Cole Hamels told Angelo Cataldi and the 94WIP Morning Show about Brown. It has been several years of up and down for Brown, splitting time between the Phillies and their minor-league teams. A few injuries along the way didn’t help matters either.
“You’re not worrying about the outside forces of going up-down, up-down, if you don’t perform,” Hamels said. “Just feeling comfortable knowing that you’re confident that you’re going to be there, you’re going to get a shot, and you get a chance to just be yourself and I think that’s kind of what’s hard. When you pull guys up—our ultimate goal is to get to the big leagues, it’s very difficult to stay because they have that anxiety of not wanting to get sent back down. Once they get over it, then they’re able to be themselves and then you get to see what type of player they actually are. Dom Brown has always been like that, now for him to feel comfortable enough to be himself, now he is putting on the show we always knew he was capable of doing.”
Aumont, via CBS Philly:
“It’s very, very confusing,” Aumont told the Express-Times on Saturday. “Baseball is a very confusing thing because you have so many people who have so many different perspectives on how to do things. At the major league level, (bullpen coach) Rod (Nichols) is telling me something, then I come down here and can hear different stuff. Which way do I go? Do I want to please the people while I’m down here right now or do I do the things the big league wants me to do even if I’m not doing the stuff they want me to do here?
“I’m the one who’s caught in the middle and I have to make a decision. We don’t always make the best decisions, nobody does, but I have to find a medium of where I can get to where I want to be and at the same time, try to do some of the things they want me to do. The bottom line is I’m going to do what’s good for me and whatever anybody else says goes in and out for me.”
When you have former players, current long-tenured players, and an in-between prospect making separate but pointed criticisms about the way the organization is run, changes need to be made. Not a firing, mind you, but refocusing and reorganization. These are problems that, left untouched, tend to snowball.